Friday, June 19, 2009

Mothers Make Great Artists

Some time ago I was following an online forum thread started by a young woman that wished she could get married and have children so that she would have more inspiration for her artwork. It was very interesting to watch the responses that came in. Almost every man that replied mentioned that once a husband and children are introduced into the life of a woman, she does not have time for any other pursuit. Almost every woman that responded said the exact opposite.

Children have the uncanny ability to provide their parents with more sincerity and more sensitive spirits. Parents are given the priceless opportunity to see the world with new eyes, the eyes of their young children as they experience the world for the first time.

In one of the art shows I juried, I remember very distinctly sifting through hundreds of entries, the vast majority of which were mediocre at best, when I came upon a beautiful oil painting. I had seen hundreds of landscapes, but this one was different somehow. It was fundamentally correct, but more than that, it held an extra feeling, a spirit about it that just shouted out to me. It was accepted into the show. The curator mentioned to me that this particular painting was done by a young mother. She had three children and still made the effort to work on her art and get it out in the public eye.

Some of my favorite artists are mothers. One artist that I have garnered tremendous respect and admiration for over the years is Cassandra Barney. Her artwork is beautiful, meaningful, and encourages us to search within ourselves. She is also a mother to three children.

Finding the balance is not an easy thing. Often, mothers must find creative ways to make the time to practice their art. I am a mother and an artist, and all of my painting takes place when my daughter is either napping or has gone to bed for the night. I know of other artist mothers who find a quiet area in their house that isn’t being used by the family and paint there. There are some who are only able to paint when their spouse is around to watch the children. One benefit that I have found is now that my time with my painting is very limited, I actually find MORE time to paint. When I had all day to get to my canvas, I would take all day. Now that I have only an hour or two at a time, I make wonderful use of that precious time I am given.

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